Home improvement is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of renovation, remodeling and repair projects. Some homeowners opt to do the work themselves, while others hire professionals. Many of the most common types of home improvements include updating electrical systems, adding new doors and windows or repairing or replacing roofs and awnings.
DIYers and DIY-focused products continue to grow in popularity, with books and a variety of “how-to” videos online and on television providing new skills and lower prices for consumers who want to do their own home improvements or repairs. These projects may be a way for some homeowners to increase their home’s value, while others simply enjoy the challenge of tackling a project.
It’s important to know the legal requirements for home improvement before you begin any project, as they can impact your finances and the contractor you choose. If you’re not sure, consult with your local building and codes office for guidance.
The home improvement industry has experienced significant growth in recent years, as more homeowners seek to improve their properties and make them more comfortable and attractive. In particular, the influx of older homeowners has led to an increased need for home maintenance and renovation work.
A Home Improvement Law (HIL) exists in most states to protect the homeowner’s interests when hiring a contractor for construction or repair projects. This law limits the amount of deposit that a contractor can take on a home improvement project, and also sets out payment schedules that must be agreed upon in advance.
This law does not, however, limit the amount of money a contractor can collect from a homeowner over time. A contractor must accept a minimum of 1/3 of the contract price as a down payment, and the remaining balance can be paid in installments based on the progress of the job.
Most homeowners are completing home improvement projects for different reasons, including personal preference and comfort, maintenance or repair work, making the house bigger or more energy-efficient, or to improve safety or security. But just 20% of those planning to make changes in the next two years say their goal is to boost the resale value of their homes.
Regardless of the reason, most homeowners have some degree of control over their home improvement decisions, according to a recent survey. For instance, they’re more likely to use a professional for electrical or plumbing work than for landscape design and garden maintenance, and they’re less likely to use a contractor for kitchen or bathroom renovations.
In general, homeowners who are looking to remodel their home should make a detailed list of the work they want done and discuss it with a contractor before starting the project. This will help them avoid surprises and lock in firm prices.
When a contractor offers you a quote, it’s best to have it in writing so that you can compare it to other estimates. This will ensure you’re not getting a price that is too low or too high for the work you’re getting done.